Hobby Lobby’s antigay lawyer is about to be rewarded with a lifetime appointment as a federal judge

Hobby Lobby’s antigay lawyer is about to be rewarded with a lifetime appointment as a federal judge
Stuart Kyle Duncan Photo: CSPAN

Stuart Kyle Duncan just got another step closer to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. That’s bad news for LGBT Americans.

Republicans spent eight years making sure that seats on the Fifth Circut court of appeals remained empty while Barack Obama was president. Now they’re rushing to fill them, and Hobby Lobby’s own lawyer is creeping towards a lifetime appointment.

The Senate voted 50 to 44 yesterday to advance the nomination of Stuart Kyle Duncan, Donald Trump’s pick for the Fifth Circuit court of appeals. He’s one of many politically far right men the Trump administration has nominated, two of whom are already confirmed, who are hostile to civil rights, workers’ rights, consumers’ rights, environmental protection, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and reproductive rights.

Duncan is the “Hobby Lobby Lawyer” who was instrumental in savaging women’s access to insurance coverage for contraceptive care. He served as lead counsel in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. He opposed the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate in an amicus brief, and he authored a brief opposing a Washington law that required pharmacies to stock some forms of birth control.

Duncan’s record on LGBT issues is particularly nightmarish. For those who’ve justifiably blocked it out, here’s a refresher.

  • He represented the Gloucester County School Board in their case against a transgender high school student whose restroom access was restricted based on his transgender status.
  • He advocated on behalf of Louisiana in the state’s bid to uphold its same-sex marriage ban.
  • He wrote an amicus brief for Louisiana and 14 other states arguing their same-sex marriage bans did not undermine the decision in U.S. v. Windsor, the landmark Supreme Court case that required the federal government to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.
  • He also argued that a couple married in New York could not have their names added to the birth certificate of their adopted child in Louisiana because the state did not recognize same-sex marriages at the time and did not allow unmarried couples to adopt.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals encompasses states with high percentages of people in communities that already face pervasive discrimination.

Duncan’s appointment will make it even harder for women, people living in poverty, people of color, and LGBTQ people to seek justice against discrimination.

Long after the Trump administration and the Republican Congress are finally dispatched to the dustbin of history, America will still have to deal with Duncan’s twisted logic and bigoted viewpoints.

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